In light of recent news, we are left with two choices: worse and worser.
Kids these days are sending out all sorts of messages on the Twitter and the Instagram and the Google that we are one the verge of World War III.
As if we have not been fighting World War III since September 11, 2001.
Anyway, remember a long, long time ago -- really, like, 30 days ago -- when there was lots of talk about impeaching the president? Before all this World War III chatter got loud?
Way back when, a parade of so-called intelligence experts marched up in front of Congress and had some not-so-nice things to say about the president and the, uh, requests he made to honchos in the Ukraine. Folks like Fiona Hill and Marie Yovanovitch, who’d spent their entire adult lives studying one part of the world, becoming such experts that they could serve as career diplomats, working for any president, Republican or Democrat.
Which was precisely the problem, pro-Trumpers argued. The likes of Hill and Yovanovitch were not only Democrats in disguise. They were symbols of the “deep state,” that permanent government bureaucracy that has been is the nation’s capital so long they can’t help but say nasty things about a heroic president who shakes up the status quo as he shakes down world leaders.
“For years, conservatives have been railing against the growth of the ‘administrative state,’ a mass of faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats allegedly holding tyrannical power over ordinary citizens,” celebrated political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal.
“Since the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the launch of several investigations of his administration, this complaint has morphed into even sharper attacks on America’s so-called ‘deep state’: unelected officials who are supposedly partisan Democrats ready to do anything to undermine the Trump presidency.”
However, Fukuyama contends, “American constitutional government depends on the existence of a professional, expert, nonpartisan civil service …government cannot function without public servants whose primary loyalty is not to the political boss who appointed them but to the Constitution and to a higher sense of the public interest.”
And so, as with so many things in public life these days, we are left with two choices: worse and worser.
On the one hand, we have the president and his minions who have railed for years against the deep state -- until last week. That’s when those do-nothing bureaucrats suddenly became geniuses, having handed Trump intel which justified the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
But let’s go out on a limb and assume that our, um, mercurial president will eventually change his mind once or twice more in the coming months, and will go back to railing against the deep state powers that be.
In which case, surely there is a better defense we can come up with than Fukuyama’s tired, old knock on party “bosses,” which dismisses what may well be Irish America’s greatest contribution to U.S. political history.
Fukuyama never mentions Tammany Hall or the Irish, or any immigrants for that matter. But they are the ones who perfected machine politics in America which, yes, relied upon bosses and, yes -- gasp! -- even self-interest.
This was not only an effective method of governing but necessary, because 19th century bigots had their own “enlightened” and “unbiased” way of doing things, to which the Irish need not have applied.
Not that we should expect a scary genius like Fukuyama to give the Irish their due. His most famous book is 1992’s The End of History and the Last Man, which argued that following the collapse of Soviet-style Communism, all of history’s grand arguments were more or less settled, and that the 21st century would be all about fine tuning minor disagreements related to western-style democracy.
No mention of World War III.
(Contact “Sidewalks” at tdeignan.blogspot.com)